Could both be right? Paul and Barnabas have had a huge blowup over taking John Mark on their second missionary journey. Mark had deserted them on the first one. Left them high and dry, sailing back home. Take him with us again? ‘No way’, says the Apostle Paul. ‘Let him grow up first’. But Barnabas, the ‘Son of Encouragement’, wants to give him a second chance. Who’s right? Could both? Does one necessarily cross out the other?
Let me apply this to my own life. I’m thinking of when proverbial doors were slammed right in my face. My job as pastor came crashing down all around me. Devastating, and not only for me. I imagine the Apostle Paul would have advised me to take time off. Find a new career. Cool your heels. Check the pulse of what you really want to do. Find out what the Lord wants for you. Grow… before you go. Get closer to Him after the doors have closed.
Paul would have been absolutely right. After this happened, outside the four walls of a church, I began to grow somewhat by fits-and-starts. Not an even path. Never for the likes of me! Slowly but surely(and don’t call me Shirley!), I was drawing near to Jesus. Need time off and away? To sit at His feet? To hear Him… and to talk with the Lord? Pray…read your Bible…heal? Do it. Take the time.
But Barnabas was right, also. I thank God for those who gave me second chances…to serve the Lord Jesus. Like a Roman Catholic priest, a local hospital chaplain and dear friend, who took some criticism for having this Protestant– me!– preach at the Catholic hospital service two weeks after exiting through the back door of my old church. He told me to ‘get right back on that horse’! He was Barnabas to me. Gave me that second chance, when I never even asked for it. I’m so grateful.
And the local Christian television station that hosted my weekly program of testimony and evangelism for over five years. No longer bound behind four walls of a church, my ministry reached into two counties in our state. And then, those fourteen years, I loved pastoring a church in that same town. Now… a different person. Now… preaching, teaching, encouraging missions and evangelism, Bible studies, prayer groups. Now… sitting at the Lord’s feet. All in that same town!
Grow in Him. Give and receive second chances. Do you wonder what the Lord can make of your life? Wonder no more! Grow in Him. Get close to Jesus. Watch the Lord open windows and doors for you…for others…for Him!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for second chances in life, and time to get close to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.